Since Sunday, June 3, 39 children with cancer have camped at Camp Quality, northwest of Neosho. Today, is the last day for this year's camp.

Since Sunday, June 3, 39 children with cancer have camped at Camp Quality, northwest of Neosho. Today, is the last day for this year's camp.
"We want them to be able to be kids," said Kristen Patterson, executive co-director at Camp Quality. "They don't get to do that like a normal kid, unfortunately, so this is their time. If they want to fish, or swim, we make that happen. We are a one-to-one ratio, so that camper gets a companion and the companions and the staff are all volunteers. We are so grateful to have an amazing crew that works together to make this happen."
Background info
Camp Quality is a camping experience and year-round support program for children with cancer and their families. In 1983, the first camp was founded in Sydney, Australia. The local camp is located west of Neosho.
Each of the camper – which ranges in ages 4-18 – are paired with a volunteer known as a companion. The campers have the opportunity to do a lot of activities.
"Our biggest thing, is they love fishing and swimming, are the normal ones, but we are thankful for a great community that makes things happen and brings different things in," she said. "So for (Monday), it was hot air balloons, carnival games. We have a talent show, a band, just anything that kids love to do, we try to bring it here so they can relax and do it."
The local camp has been going on for more than 30 years.
"The children that are diagnosed with cancer either in active treatment or in remission, and we also allow siblings," said Patterson. "We know that cancer doesn't just affect just the child, it affects the whole family, so since we are able to, we want to give them the opportunity to come out and to be be a kid and just have fun too."
Patterson has been involved with the camp for 21 years.
"This is actually my 21st year here, I stayed at the age of 11 as a camper, after I had Acute myeloid leukemia (AML)," she said. "Was blessed to survive that and I always pray that I would be able to live out God's purpose for me. I truly feel that Camp Quality is a huge part of that."
Along with her, Patterson said there are others who have been campers and are now give back by being companions.
"Right now we have probably six..." she said. "It is truly neat to see those of us that experience this and were blessed to have fun at this camp and now able to give back the same to the kids."
Community involvement
As noted, the community has come out in various sorts of action either by being a part of the entertainment or cooking meals or donating.
"It is so amazing to see everyone pull together," Patterson said. "Every community around this area, it is as much as writing a check for donation, coming out cooking us food. This year, we needed pillows for our guests and we did a pillow drive and within two hours, we had the 60 pillows we needed. I can not thank the community enough without them and their support, this would not be possible."